How to trim your neckline depends on the reasons your neck is thicker than desired. If you're overweight and want to lose neck fat, a fat-burning exercise regimen, coupled with a nutritional plan that induces a calorie deficit, can be beneficial. However, spot reduction is a myth.
While you can't target your neck for slimming, overall weight loss can result in a skinny neck. Exercises that elongate your neck and counteract faulty posture can create the appearance of a slim neck.
To get a skinny neck, lose excess body fat and perform exercises to strengthen and elongate the muscles in your neck and improve your posture.
Cardio to Whittle Neck Fat
According to the American Council on Exercise, you'll need a calorie deficit of about 500 calories per day to burn a pound of fat per week. An hour per day of cardiovascular exercise, such as cycling, rowing, running, power walking, swimming, stair climbing or treadmill running, can help to burn off the calories.
For example, a 125-pound person can burn about 420 calories cycling for an hour at a moderate pace, according to Harvard Health Publishing. During an hour-long vigorous stationary rowing session, that same person can burn 510 calories.
Read more: The 7 Principles of Fat Loss
While 30 minutes of exercise per day can help you to maintain your weight and improve your cardiovascular health, you'll need to go the extra mile and extend the duration of your workouts to shed pounds and lose excess neck fat.
Boost Intensity for Big Burn
If you boost the intensity of your exercise sessions by performing high-intensity spurts of cardio, you can abbreviate the duration of your fat-burning workouts. Researchers at McMaster University in Canada found that short bouts of exercise done at maximum effort for 20 to 30 minutes are as effective for burning fat as moderate aerobic activity of longer duration.
For example, perform 10, 60-second sprints on a stationary cycle, taking one minute active rest intervals of low-intensity cycling. By engaging in high-intensity interval training, you can boot your metabolism into overdrive, burn fat and lose the flab around your neck. Avoid this method of training if you're just beginning a fitness regimen or if you have issues with your heart.
Head Up and Elongate
Spending hours in front of a computer takes a toll on your posture. A common problem is rounded shoulders and back, a scrunched head and a forward jut of the neck. By doing neck-stretching exercises, you can lengthen your neck muscles and counteract a posture that creates the appearance of a stubby thick neck.
For example, begin by sitting upright in a chair. On an exhalation, gently retract your head, drawing it back in a turtle-like movement. Lower your chin to your chest, stretching the muscles in the back of your neck. Inhale and lift your head, drawing your chin upward to stretch your front neck muscles. Perform three reps of slowly nodding your head up and down.
To stretch the muscles on the sides of your neck, slowly turn your head from side to side.
Tone for Less Jiggle
Strengthening exercises for your neck not only tone flabby muscles but can also help improve your posture. Ideally, it's best to do this sort of exercise under a medical professional's care. Some of the exercises you might be advised to do include isometric curls for your neck, in much the same way that you do abdominal curls.
Begin by lying supine on the floor and placing a small towel under your head for support. Nod "yes" to help tuck your chin. Then lift your head gently off the pillow, keeping your chin tucked. Hold for a few seconds; then relax back to your starting position with a controlled motion. Your doctor will advise you whether you should build up to longer hold times or more repetitions.
You can also do isometric exercises by using your hand as resistance. Place your palm on the back of your head and then gently push your head against your hand for 10 to 20 seconds. To strengthen your neck flexors, place your palm on your forehead and gently push your head forward, making sure you keep your chin tucked (don't let it jut forward). Continue pressing your head against your palm for 10 to 20 seconds.
- Harvard Health Publishing: Calories Burned in 30 Minutes for People of Three Different Weights
- American Council on Exercise: Weight Loss-Tipping the Scales in the Right Direction
- The Journal of Physiology: Physiological Adaptations to Low-Volume, High-Intensity Interval Training in Health and Disease
- Progressive Chiropractic Wellness Center: Chin Tuck With Neck Curl / Foam Roll
- Mayfield Brain and Spine: Exercises: Neck Stretches & Strengthening